Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Happy World Oceans Day

Today is World Oceans Day - a day to both celebrate and save the oceans for future generations

World Oceans Day 2011. Photo by Nautical Sites Media.

World Oceans Day is recognized on June 8th each year by the United Nations, many countries, and several conservation organizations. Since it falls around the beginning of boating season (at least in our neck of the waters), it's a good time to think about what we, as boaters, can do to keep our playground sustainable for the future. Think of it like Earth Day for the oceans.

Be a Good Mate
A few months ago on Earth Day, we told you about the Ocean Conservancy's Good Mate program, and suggested following some of the safe boating practices outlined by that organization.

They say there are five general ways boaters can protect our oceans and waterways, and conveniently enough, each of the five tips starts with a letter that ends up spelling the word "BOATS".

Be a leader in your community. Talk about marine litter prevention with members of your boating community, from your neighbor in the next slip to boating clubs and marina managers.

Offer your time. Volunteer in boat and marina cleanup programs, especially at sites only accessible by boat. And participate in Ocean Conservancy's annual International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer effort of its kind for the ocean.

Accidents happen. Be prepared with absorbent pads to clean oil or fuel spills. Dish soap doesn't work. It just causes those liquids to sink and contaminate the bottom.

Take it all back to shore. Don't allow cigarette butts to go overboard; small but significant, they are the most prevalent marine litter item found during the International Coastal Cleanup. Dispose of them properly onshore.

Set the pace. Recycle everything you can, from beverage containers to propeller-snarling fishing line or plastic bags.

Check out the Good Mate program website for more practical steps you can use today on the boat.

Ocean Hero
There is another organization called OCEANA, which today is asking people to "Be an Ocean Hero This Summer". According to Oceana, being an ocean hero is easy – just pledge to recycle, clean up or eat sustainable seafood this summer. You can take the pledge at their website, Oceana.org. It's free and easy to do, and is a good first step to celebrate World Oceans Day today.